Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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Flooding, Water Damage, Insurance, and You

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Fortunately, many areas did see the same flooding which occurred during TS Allison, but water damage did effect many of our homes. You may be wondering if your insurance will cover this, and what you may need to do to repair your home once you had some water damage after the storm.

First, you need to understand that a normal homeowner’s insurance policy covers water damage caused by rain, like rain seeping in through the roof. There is a special policy that deals with wind storm damage, which covers the damage caused during a hurricane, but for most water penetration types a normal policy may suffice.

If the water is determined to be “rising water” or in other words flooding, you need flood insurance. For example, the drain in the street becomes clogged during the hurricane, which causes the street to flood into your house. You could also have the water pond in your backyard. As the hurricane drops more water into the yard, the water level rises to come into your home. You may think of this damage due to the hurricane, but insurance firms define the type of damage specifically, and “rising water” needs flood insurance.

If you only had some water seep in under your door, but not covering your entire floor, you are not a likely candidate for mold. Mold needs the right conditions to survive. The water in the wall may not be too much, so it should dry out quickly enough. Be sure to clean this area of floor and wall with a bleach solution (10% bleach to 90% water). Try to mop up standing water as soon as possible. For more serious flooding, you will need to check the extent of the damage. Professionals like me carry a moisture meter, so we could tell you exactly how far up the wall the water seeped. However, if you are doing it alone, you could use a small knife. Wherever it is easy to move the blade into the wall or trim, you have moisture damage. Remember, that water in the wall will seep up higher than the actual water level of the flooding. Think of a paper towel where the bottom edge is left in a puddle of water. As time goes by, the water penetrates further up the towel, yet the puddle level has not reached those areas. All material on your home will soak up water to some degree, but drywall will soak up the most.

If the water damage was slight, you could just let it dry out, but this can take some time. Each home environment is different, so I cannot say for sure how long your home will take. If the damage was extensive, then you will have to remove the material to replace it with new goods. Drywall can be cut so that the damaged portions are removed, so then the entire wall covering does not need to be removed. My best advice is my fall back when it comes to home repairs, have a good manual from a home improvement store to describe the steps to you. I just want to give you the basic idea here.

I hope that your home did not experience anything to severe.Good luck.

« « Do I Need a Home Inspector to Check Out My Home After the Hurricane?| As Congress Debates Bailout, HUD Acts » »

© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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